Shifting into the Future



July 02, 2011

How did you celebrate Collector Car Appreciation Day? On July 8th, Hagerty Insurance hosted a group of young adults to teach them how to drive—and appreciate—historic cars.

What better way to get kids excited about cars than to put them behind the wheel of some really cool ones? During this month’s inaugural Hagerty Driving Experience, 35 young adults got to do just that at the Dearborn, Michigan-based Automotive Hall of Fame.

After some basic classroom driving instruction and tips on manning a clutch, the 15- to 20-year-olds got to chose from an array of historic vehicles before hitting the closed course with a driving instructor. A pre-war 1928 Packard phaeton, a 1930 Ford Model A, and even the 1963 Corvette “split window” coupe owned by Hagerty CEO, McKeel Hagerty, were among the many vehicles there for the excited young drivers to try.

Recent research collected by the HVA showed that young people have less interest in driving and likely possess less driving skill than teens three decades ago. According to the Department of Transportation, only 49 percent of 17-year-olds have their driver’s licenses (a more than 25 percent decrease since 1978). Additionally, less than 10 percent of currently produced vehicles are equipped with manual transmissions, a technology prevalent on classics. Hagerty’s program, held on Collector Car Appreciation Day, was developed to expose youth to the pleasures of driving a classic car.

After driving all of the event vehicles, Caleb Birdsley, 15, of Capac, Michigan said, “I already knew how a clutch worked but when they explained it to you individually it made a lot more sense. I wasn’t really sure how [driving a classic] was going to be because it takes a little bit to get used to each car to begin with. I wasn’t necessarily nervous but more like anxious and curious.”

“In order to keep classics on the road for future generations to enjoy, we have to give youth access to these rare cars and teach them the ins and outs of driving such unique vehicles,” said McKeel Hagerty. “The feedback we received was incredible. They really seemed to embrace the event.”

For more about youth programs, check out operationignite.hagerty.com.  Hagerty's Operation Ignite! "Connecting Kids and Cars" is a suite of programs designed to grow the interest of the hobby among young people through interactive events.

Comments

  1. sally j rogind fenton mi

    I have grandkids just ready to start driving and i would be most interested in seeing articles about our young drivers and interest in the vintage-classic cars we own. thanks so much Sally J Rogind

  2. Alan Campbell Ontario, Canada

    Wonderful idea introducing a younge generation to the concept of cars of yestryear. When my generation is gone, who will continue this interest? I was weaned on Brit sports cars, and other than the UK, are we doing enough here in America to at least acknowledge this breed???

  3. Jennabel

    I have been so bewildered in the past but now it all makes sense!

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